Palace: Duterte entitled to make jokes

06 December, 2018, 12:29 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte

"You drug pushers, holdup men, and do-nothings, you better get out because I'll kill you". "It's too late to change". "It's the opposite. So obviously there is no logic", he said.

Panelo said Malacañang will "never interfere with the function of the judiciary" as well as the other branches of government.

But after the press conference, Duterte told reporters he was joking about the "marijuana comment". In other developments: • Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday brushed aside Duterte's statement that he uses marijuana to keep awake.

Duterte's office has denied he is involved in the prosecutions against Rappler, but the President has previously sparred with the company's employees, personally barring Ressa and reporter Pia Ranada from Malacanang Palace, his official residence, over their coverage of his administration.

"It's a killing activity", Duterte said during his speech, but shockingly added, "Me, [I don't fall asleep] as much because I was taking marijuana to stay awake", he said.

"Medicinal marijuana, yes, because it is really an ingredient of modern medicine" Duterte said.

The head of Rappler, a popular online news portal that has criticized President Rodrigo Duterte's war on illegal drugs, posted bail on Monday for a tax evasion case, which she described as government harassment.


"If the President is serious in handling the drug issue, he should stop his tough talk, understand the science behind substance use and addiction, and give the issue the due gravity it deserves", said the Y4MH chair, Dr. Raymond John Naguit.

Rappler added that Duterte has previously, without claiming to be joking, to the use of, an extremely addictive and unsafe opioid believed to have played a role in almost half the opioid overdose deaths in the United States in 2017.

"I don't have to ask him because we've been together for 30 years", said the presidential spokesman.

Still, many more defended Duterte, noting that he has never opposed marijuana and even suggested legalizing it at one point.

Carlos Conde, Philippines researcher for Human Rights Watch said Monday that "the charges filed against Rappler and its editor and founder, Maria Ressa, are politically motivated and part of the Duterte administration's campaign to harass, threaten and intimidate critics".

"There is a disconnect between what the president admitted to do and what the president said he will do to those who use drugs", he said.

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